CAMPING & HIKING

Best Family Tents: Choosing The Right One for Your Family Camping Trip

Family in front of a tent
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

A family camping trip is always something to look forward to. Nothing says “happy family” like barbecuing on a riverside or roasting marshmallows over a fire pit that you have painstakingly built and kindled with help from your loved ones. After a good evening of familial fun, it’s time to go to sleep. You need to conserve your energy to anticipate another day of fun and games.

This is the part where people often realize that they have made a mistake while buying the tent. The wrong family tent has the potential to ruin your camping trip as your loved ones wake up with back pains and body aches after a long night of being poked and prodded by stones through the measly layer of protection that the tent provides, and that’s just one of the many possible disasters. Putting some thought into choosing between only the best family tents would be wise.

Things To Consider When Choosing Which Family Tent To Buy

Just like the way no two families are exactly the same, family tents range wildly in features such as size, price, comfort, and durability. You should list your family’s unique needs and wants. Ask yourself questions such as: How big is your family? How often do you go on family camping trips? What types of destination do your family members prefer?

Kids laughing in front of tent

Write down the answers to all of those basic considerations in the form of a list; this would be the guidepost used to help you remember your family’s particular needs when you are being presented with a colorful array of options in the store. The best tent for you is one that ticks all of those boxes.

Once you’ve had a clearer picture about the kind of tent that you are looking for, the next step is to consider the main features in which family tent options differ. In choosing the best tent for family camping, you should consider:

Weight

Most well-crafted family tents range from 15 lbs to 40 lbs in weight. Any lighter than that and you can never be sure what material it was made from. Any heavier than that, and it would be very difficult to move around while carrying the tent, especially for backpack camping.

Family setting up a tent

The weight of the tent mostly comes from the poles. Fiberglass is heavy but sturdy. A lighter but no less sturdy material would be aluminum, yet these poles can push the price of the tent up quite a bit. If your family favors trekking on foot over a trip by car, however, the lighter weight should more than make up for the extra cash you have to fork out.

Level of Protection

One rule that applies for every family without exception is the need to purchase a tent that offers a good level of protection. Safety is priority. You wouldn’t want your loved ones to spend the whole night shaking in their sleeping bag through a thunderstorm or a hail, fearing for their lives as the tent shudders and threatens to cave in around them.

Setting protection around tent

The level of protection that a tent can provide is dependent upon several things, namely: the fabric, the stitching, and the sturdiness of the joints. There are tents that can withstand savage winds like the ones you encounter on high-altitude areas, just as there are tents built to be completely waterproof. You need to consider what the weather is like at the camping destinations that your family likes to go to. You can also purchase a rainfly for tents that don’t come equipped with one for extra protection.

Available Space

How many people are there in your family? It goes without saying that a family with six members would not be able to fit into a four-person tent, but it’s worth noting that what it says in the product description often equals to a very cramped space with not much room for gear, if at all. You should consider buying a tent that’s at least one size bigger.

Family inside spacious tent

For a family of nine, but a ten-person tent. Also consider whether you want a tent that comes equipped with a screen room or not. The screen room provides a good place to gather and look at the stars, as well as to store your gear, but it’s not all that suitable as a sleeping area. You should take that into account when doing the math.

Ease of Setup

There are tents that can be pitched in under a minute, just as well as there are tents that need more than fifteen minutes to be set up. As a general rule, the instant cabins are less sturdy than tents you have to manually pitch, so you might want the latter for places with more extreme climates.

Mom and daughter setting up tent

If there are adults around you can ask for help, you should get the manual tents. If your family mostly consists of younger children, then perhaps an instant cabin would be the better choice.

Ventilation

Air circulation for the tent depends on the number of doors, the number of windows, and the roof. Some tents have vents in the ceiling. Others have a mesh roof that allows for a wonderful panoramic view as well as great ventilation.

Tent with small windows

Good ventilation allows you and your loved ones to comfortably nap in the tent even when the sun is baking it. A nicely-designed tent should also allow you to close the vents tightly when you need to in order to keep the heat in when the temperature drops at night.

Room Dividers

Some tents come with room dividers; others don’t. You should consider how much privacy your family members need. Typically, the bigger tents—those made to fit more than six people—arrive with prepackaged room dividers.

Family tent with rooms

A List Of Quality Family Tents

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to family tents. However, there are some that would fit most families out there. The eight products listed below have been hand-picked while taking each family’s unique situation into consideration. They are by no means perfect. Each product has its own positives and negatives.

There may also be other family tents out there which are more suited to be your family’s perfect choice. However, simply walking into the store and being bombarded with all the unfamiliar brand names and models can be daunting. Without knowing where to start, you would be spending more time and effort than necessary to choose.

Large tent in the forest

This list is not here to restrict you to the recommended eight products, but to provide you with a good starting point so you will have an easier time picking the family tent that will put a smile on your loved ones’ faces.

Coleman 6-Person Instant Cabin

Coleman 6-Person Instant Cabin

Weight: 24.9lbs

Dimensions: 72.01in x 107.99in x 120in

Color: Available only in brown/black.

Features: WeatherTec system, windows and roof vents, pre-attached poles, instant setup.

Best Use: Family camping trips in places with a milder weather.

The Coleman 6-Person Instant Cabin has been receiving rave reviews for its easy setup procedures. Just about anyone can set the Coleman Instant Cabin up in one minute flat—even children. You can get your younger children to help as a form of family bonding time or allow them to set it up themselves to teach them some practical skills.

Coleman Instant Cabin really takes away the complicated and irritating procedure of setting up a tent that is often the least-anticipated part of a camping trip. The though polyester material and the patented WeatherTec system are designed to keep water out. The Coleman Instant Cabin does very well in milder climates.

If you are looking for a tent you can take with you on one of your family’s more extreme adventures, however, this tent may need some upgrades. There have been reports on water leakage when it started to rain heavily. The Coleman Instant Cabin is unfortunately not weatherproof enough on its own, but with some simple upgrades such as applying seam sealer and setting up the rainfly for extra protection, this tent will do its job.

Space-wise, it does what it says. You can easily fit six people in it. It would not feel too crowded or suffocating because the Coleman Instant Cabin has a wonderful ventilation system, complete with four windows and two roof vents.

Check the price on Amazon

Big Agnes Flying Diamond – 6 Person Tent

Big Agnes Flying Diamond

Weight: 17.94lbs

Dimensions: 22in x 14in x 6in

Color: Available only in rust/charcoal.

Features: DAC Combination Lightweight Aluminum poles, polyester with 1500mm polyurethane coating, fifteen hook stakes.

Best Use: Family camping trips in windy areas.

In case you are looking for a tent that can provide you with more than adequate protection when you go on family camping trips in windier, high-altitude areas, look no further than Big Agnes Flying Diamond – 6 Person Tent. Its aluminum poles, stakes, and pegs all work together to create a sturdy tent with powerful joints. Not even the harshest of winds would be able to uproot the Big Agnes Flying Diamond when you’ve set it up. It’s there to stay.

The Big Agnes Flying Diamond would also protect you from chilly high-altitude temperatures. With a body made from polyester and windows made from nylon, this tent really protects you from the elements. It excels in keeping water out, so neither rain nor storm would be able to ruin your family’s camping trip.

The spacious interior is another point to rave about. The Big Agnes Flying Diamond is able to fit six people or two queen-sized airbeds with room to spare. It is really a tent you can depend on. However, there is one Achilles’ heel you might want to be careful about: The zippers are quite fragile. On the flip side, its thick bones and powerful outline make it the perfect choice for long family camping trips, and you would have no problem entrusting the safety of your family to this tent.

Check the price on Amazon

Browning Camping Big Horn Family/Hunting Tent

Browning Camping Big Horn Family/Hunting Tent

Weight: 34.75lbs

Dimensions: 87in x 180in x 87in

Color: Available only in black/orange.

Features: Free-standing fiberglass poles, wall divider, great customer service.

Best Use: Family camping trips in all kinds of climates.

The Browning Camping Big Horn Family/Hunting Tent does not leave much to be desired when it comes to weather protection. This tent was built to withstand even the most extreme of weathers. Forget about storms—the Browning Big Horn Tent can even handle hail. If you have always dreamed about taking your family to exotic destinations yet you fear for their safety, hesitate no longer.

For bigger families of up to eight member, this Tent is the one you need. Air circulation will not be a problem since it’s made from breathable polyester and comes equipped with no less than six windows. It also allows for a bit of privacy since it has a wall divider you can put up.

Overall, there’s not much to complain about with this tent. There have been reports about how the product failed to deliver what it promised and developed holes or defects after being battered by an extreme weather condition, but the company behind Browning Big Horn Tent always acts quickly to resolve the issues, so there is a high level of customer satisfaction.

Check the price on Amazon

Coleman Instant Tent 4 Person

Coleman Instant Tent 4 Person

Weight: 18lbs

Dimensions: 9.5in x 18in x 38in

Color: Available only in brown/black.

Features: WeatherTec system, pre-attached steel poles, instant setup.

Best Use: For smaller families camping in areas with a mild weather.

Made to be set up and taken down in about a minute, the Coleman Instant Tent 4 Person is perfect for families that can’t wait to have some fun and would just like to get the tent setup over with. This Coleman Instant Tent is suitable for smaller families—up to four people if you have small children, but less than that for an all-adult gathering.

There have been some mixed reviews about this tent. The polyester material breathes well and provides good ventilation, but it’s not quite as weatherproof as most campers would like. Despite the WeatherTec system, this tent is not suitable for harsher climates.

A bit of rain can be warded off nicely, but for anything more extreme, you need to add a few extra touches. A bit of waterproof spray here, a rainfly there, and some seam sealant should improve this tent’s level of protection tremendously. This Coleman Instant Tent may not be perfect, but for its cheap price, it delivers quite an admirable value for money.

Check the price on Amazon

CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent – 14’ x 9’

CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent

Weight: 35.15lbs

Dimensions: 10.5in x 11in x 48in

Color: Available only in green.

Features: Core H20 Block Technology, adjustable rainfly, advanced venting system, wall divider, instant setup.

Best Use: Family camping trips in hotter climates.

The ventilation is where CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent – 14′ x 9′ truly shines. Starting from the adjustable rainfly and ranging to the advanced venting technology installed to the mesh ceiling, everything about this CORE Instant Cabin Tent is designed to allow the entire structure to breathe.

It allows for a very comfortable temperature and air circulation in the tent, and you might even find yourself not wanting to leave it, especially considering the fact that the adjustable rainfly could be arranged to allow for a full panoramic view of the nature from the mesh ceiling. Combine that with the Core H20 Block Technology that amazingly keeps dampness out, and you will have one extraordinary tent.

The size is another commendable part. Some might find it a bit daunting, since setting up a tent that big seems like a lot of work. However, when CORE Instant Cabin Tent stated that it could be pitched in sixty seconds, it was telling the truth. With some help, this tent will even be ready for use in thirty seconds.

The only problem worth noting would be the main door. The zippers are arranged in such a way that there is a hole left at the bottom, and unwanted things such as creepy crawlies could enter. The problem can be easily solved by building a blockage around the small hole.

Check the price on Amazon

Ozark Trail 10-Person 3-Room XL Family Cabin Tent

Ozark Trail 10-Person 3-Room

Weight: 31.4lbs

Dimensions: 11.6in x 12in x 27.5in

Color: Available only in red/white.

Features: Three rooms, taped-on rainfly, water resistant.

Best Use: Family camping trips in milder climates.

A spacious tent for bigger families, the Ozark Trail 10-Person 3-Room XL Family Cabin Tent may seem a bit too stretched-out to be durable at first glance. Contrary to popular belief, however, the Ozark Train Family Cabin Tent will last you for more than several family camping trips. It is also not at all difficult to set up, despite the massive size.

One person should be able to handle it in under fifteen minutes. There is one thing you should be careful of. This tent is water-resistant instead of waterproof. It’s made of polyester, so it is able to withstand some rain, but the Ozark Train Family Cabin Tent is not a tent you want to be caught dead in during a thunderstorm.

Still, some action with a seam sealer should improve its imperviousness to the weather greatly. Overall, the interior is nicely-done, with lots of room that can be divided into three if your family members ever need some privacy during a long camping trip.

Check the price on Amazon

Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent

Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent

Weight: 28.25lbs

Dimensions: 16in x 16in x 132in

Color: Available only in grey/taupe.

Features: Screen room, Weather Armor polyester, double-stitched seams, Power Corners, 10-year warranty against defects.

Best Use: Family camping trips in milder climates.

The Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent is one designed for maximum comfort and a taste of luxury out in the wilderness. The addition of a screened area and an adjustable mesh roof makes it the perfect tent for enjoying the view without actually having to go out in the open. At night, you can look at the stars, surrounded by the people you love, without having to worry about bug bites.

This tent will stand strong even in a thunderstorm. With its polyurethane coating, double-stitched seams, and Weather Armor polyester fabric, Wenzel Klondike Tent was designed with optimum water-repellency in mind. The poles are made from fiberglass, so they’re sturdy and can handle windy, high-altitude destinations.

But you should pay a closer attention to the joints. They’re not quite as sturdy as they should be and can come off under heavy duress, causing a part of the tent to sag. There’s no need to worry about defects, though, because the amazing 10-year warranty will keep you covered.

Check the price on Amazon

Coleman Evanston Screened Tent

Coleman Evanston Screened Tent

Weight: 20.95lbs

Dimensions: 9in x 10.25in x 28in

Color: Available only in green.

Features: Polyester Taffeta 75D, screen room, WeatherTec system.

Best Use: Family camping trips in sunny or rainy destinations.

A 6-person tent with a screen room attached, Coleman Evanston Screened Tent provides lots of space and some of the best views you would ever enjoy without actually going out in the open. The insides are wonderfully waterproof. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the screen room.

Its slanted roof allows water to pour into the tent during torrential rains, and the way the rainfly doesn’t cover all of the screen room definitely makes Coleman Evanston Screened Tent an unsuitable choice for an evening of lazing around watching the rain. However, if you are looking for a tent that provides an amazing panoramic view, then this tent is it.

The slanted roof was made that way for a reason. When it’s not raining, you and your loved ones can simply lay back to get a full view of the starry sky. The fiberglass poles make the tent a bit heavy, though, so you might want to take this one out only for car trips.

Check the price on Amazon

The Endgame Tent For Your Family

Now that you know the basic features you should pay attention to in family tents and how to pick between the options, you should be able to make a decision that benefits your whole family. The eight products listed above make up only a small portion of the available options out there.

Sisters sitting next to a tent

In case you decide that the best tent for your family is not among them, remember to consider the weight, level of protection, available space, ease of setup, ventilation, and room dividers while you are on the hunt for the tent that fits around your loved ones like a dependable, protective glove.

Do you think there are other great family tents out there worth mentioning? If so, please let us know in the comments section.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Carl Anderson

    Our family really loves camping and hiking so we have a couple of tents available at home. I personally prefer Big Agnes Flying Diamond. Some of the things that I like about it: 1. it is spacious. 2. it provides good protection from the rain. 3. has a lot of tie points. Over-all, it is amazing.

    • Daniel Carraway

      Thank you for your comment!

  • Jon Morgan

    We have the Browning Camping Big Horn Family/Hunting Tent and I can honestly say that it is the best. I did a lot of research before buying it and I made a very good choice. We already used it for 7 times now and so far so good. It has plenty of ventilation and is very spacious.

    • Daniel Carraway

      This is definitely a great tent!

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